Drama students from Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a mass shooter killed 17 people in February, took the stage at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards on Sunday to sing an evocative rendition of “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”
The performance was met with tears and smiles, and received a standing ovation. Many fans watching at home shared their thoughts on Twitter:
Just before the performance, the school’s drama department director, Melody Herzfeld, accepted the Excellence in Theater Education Award. The award is given annually to a K-12 theater teacher by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
Herzfeld was chosen for her heroism during the February shooting at the high school. She helped hide 60 students in the school’s drama room for more than two hours after the gunman opened fire.
“All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will never be erased,” said Herzfeld during her acceptance speech.
“I remember on Feb. 7, in a circle with my students, encouraging them to be good to each other,” she went on. “And I remember only a week later, on Feb. 14, a perfect day, where all these lessons in my life and in their short lives would be called into action. We all have a common energy. We all want the same thing. To be heard. To tell our truth. To make a difference. And to be respected. We teach this every day in every arts class.”